As I struggled to recover from my two strokes in 2007 I came to realize that I couldn’t walk, tie my shoes, squeeze a clothes pin, or remember a name after five minutes. A self-described Type A personality, my initial approach was to just put my head down and work as hard as I could to recuperate. It is an approach I had used my entire life with some success, so it only seemed logical I would employ it now. I wanted to immediately start walking and worked hard at it each day. Quite frankly, within days of being released from the hospital I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t walking yet.
My childhood friend Len, from NYC came to visit and encouraged me during my recovery. We discussed the need for prayer during my healing. We discussed several prayers in the Bible that could aid me during my journey. He mentioned a prayer that isn’t in the Bible, written by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr. If you are facing challenges, it is very useful. He asked me if I was familiar with the Serenity prayer. The first part of the prayer reads as follows:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things, I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
I found the entire prayer timely during my recovery, but I particularly found the first part very helpful.
In recovering from my strokes, I wanted to get back to a normal life as quickly as possible. The prayer reminded me that it is His will that controls, not mine. And while I wanted to regain my functions, there was no guarantee I would. Recovering from of a stroke can sometimes be art not science. I asked for Gods help in accepting His will, while at the same time asking Him to provide me the strength to change the things I could. The most important request is the last one; praying for wisdom to discern the difference between the first two requests.
And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”